Stirling Castle – Palace Project

The Castle – The Palace

The Royal Palace in Stirling Castle dates from the 1540’s, and was built by King James V for his second queen Mary of Guise. The Palace comprises of ‘his and hers’ separate lodgings, with an Outer Hall, an Inner Hall and finally the Bedchambers for both the King and Queen.

The Project

The Stirling Castle Project has been a 20 year process. The Palace was the final phase of works, at an overall cost of some £12 million, managed by Historic Scotland. The main element of the works was to present the Royal Apartments as they may have looked in the middle of the 16th Century. Where possible, historically accurate materials and methods have been specified.

Project Outline

The major works contract was awarded to Morris & Spottiswood Limited, with David Fisher & Sons winning the sub-contract for the plasterworks by competitive tender. Our element of the works started in February 2009. The walls of each of the 6 chambers noted above had been stripped of hard cementations plaster back to the original stone walls. Re-pointing works on the stone had been executed by Historic Scotland prior to our works starting.

Scope of Works

Working closely with the architect and clerk of works, David Fisher & Sons executed traditional lime plasterworks to the walls of each of the chambers. Samples were provided for approval at every stage of the job, and as each coat of lime plaster cured it was monitored and signed off by the clerk of works. The curing period was up to 4 weeks between coats – due in no small part to the weather conditions encountered during the course of our works. Between 2 and 3 coats of ‘course stuff’ were applied. Each coat was cross scratched to provide a key for the next coat. Dubbing out using pan tiles and lime mortar was executed where exceptional thicknesses were encountered. Sharp arrises and reveals were formed by hand. The finishing coat of ‘setting stuff’ was applied to well wetted and cured ‘course stuff’. Care had to be taken not to damage or mark the surrounding exposed stone – damage to an Historic Building carries severe penalties in Scotland!

In other areas of the project, David Fisher & Sons executed traditional re-instatement of lath and plaster walls using hand riven chestnut lath, and lime plaster enriched with horse hair. Where this was executed, care was taken to ‘cross scratch’ the first coat of ‘course stuff’ at 45° from the line of the laths before subsequent coats were applied.

We also executed in-situ cornice repairs, gypsum plaster work, lime washing and work to metal lath backgrounds.

Our elements of the works were completed on 25th May, 2011.

The Palace was opened to the Public on Saturday 4th June 2011.